The final is finally here! And what a tense one it was… We started by looking back over the past 10 weeks – which have gone so fast!! – and all the amazing bakes the three finalists have produced as well as their various ups and downs along the way. In total they have completed 27 baking challenges! The bakers started with a signature challenge of iced buns. Mary and Paul requested 16 iced and filled buns, and they wanted two different flavours. Paul was looking for everything to be the best the bakers could make. Mary had no idea who was going to win, but she knew she wanted to see perfect iced buns that tasted delicious!
Tamal made citrus marmalade & caramel creme pat and apple & whipped cream buns. He did royal icing for the tops and didn’t flavour his icing or his dough, which raised eyebrows from the judges. His caramel creme pat did not set, so it didn’t make it into his buns. Paul brought up Tamal’s issues with timing and Mary pointed out that his icing wasn’t great. They enjoyed the texture of his buns and absolutely loved his citrus marmalade. A real friendship has blossomed between Tamal and Nadiya which was nice to see as I’ve not noticed as many close bonds from the bakers this series.
Ian made two different doughs for two different flavoured buns, the first was elderflower & lemon, and the second were spiced buns with an apple and cranberry jam. He knew he’d done something wrong to his spiced buns, and Paul Hollywood confirmed that Ian had left sugar out of the dough. His icing was also quite messy. Luckily the judges both loved his elderflower and lemon buns
Nadiya made cardamom buns with almond creme pat and nutmeg buns with a sour cherry filling. There was some contention over whether the buns should touch or not and be a ‘batch bake’. Tamal and Ian’s touched, but Nadiya’s didn’t. Nadiya also made round buns. Although she strayed from tradition, Mary loved her neat icing and original approach. Paul also ended up being a huge fan after tasting them!
The final technical challenge was to make Raspberry Mille Feuille. This is three layers of crispy ruff puff pastry filled with raspberries, jam and chantilly cream, and topped with fondant icing. Paul and Mary chose this challenge to test the bakers as they have all had issues with pastry challenges in the past – and Nadiya figured out that it was personally designed for them!
Of course a lot of instructions were left out of the Raspberry Mille Feuille recipe. The bakers had to make a sugar syrup, but had no idea what part of the recipe it was for. Tamal had problems with his pastry, and Nadiya couldn’t figure out how to arrange the Raspberry Mille Feuille. Tamal came last as his pastry wasn’t quite right, Ian was second as his pastry wasn’t quite cooked. And Nadiya came first! Her pastry was excellent and her presentation was very neat.
For the final showstopper the bakerswere asked to make a single flavoured, but multi tiered, classic British cake. The judges wanted perfect flavours, consistency throughout the tiers and a stunning appearance to make them say ‘wow!’ Tamal made a sticky toffe pudding fruit cake, which was topped with a date and toffee sauce and he decorated it beautifully with spun sugar. He was concerned about the humidty affecting his caramel as it was raining at the start of the challenge, thankfully the rain stopped. Mary thought it looked spectacular and breathtaking. They were impressed with his spun sugar technique, thought his cake was totally different and very delicious.
Nadiya chose to make a lemon drizzle cake. She explained that she did not have a cake at her wedding, so this was going to be her wedding cake. She filled them with lemon curd and lemon buttercream, and she made her own fondant out of marshmallow. The judges thought it looked elegant and beautiful, that it was evenly baked and had a consistent texture throughout. Overall they called it ‘stunning’.
Ian decided to make five tiers of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. He also made his own stand to display his cakes on. The judges thought it had a very contemporary apperance, and the texture of all five cakes was very consistent. Paul called it one of the best carrot cakes he’d ever had! What a close showstopper this was, every baker got excellent feedback from the judges. I don’t think this has ever happened before!
And the winner is… Nadiya! She certainly deserved it as she did the best in the first two challenges, and the showstopper was such a close one. Suffice to say, she was in complete shock! Paul talked about her passion for baking and her flair for flavours. Mary was so proud of Nadiya and her journey, and even got a bit emotional in front of camera – I don’t think that has ever happened before either! I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to see what Nadiya, Tamal, Ian and all the other bakers this year do next.
So The Great British Bake Off is over for another year, it always flies by so fast. I decided to make the Raspberry Mille Feuille, which was the technical challenge from the final episode for a couple of reasons. One of them being my boyfriend requested it, and the second being that I thought it looked really delicious and pretty. I followed the same Paul Hollywood recipe that the bakers used to make the Raspberry Mille Feuille.
I started by kneading white fondant until it was soft and pliable, to stop it from sticking I used icing sugar to dust the work surface.
Then I rolled out the fondant making sure it was big enough to cut out a square measuring 12″ x 9″.
I decided to use Renshaw Decor-pan, which is coloured marzipan, as it was the perfect pink shade for the recipe. You can also use pink fondant of course.
I rolled out the marzipan, again using icing sugar to stop it from sticking to the surface, then I used a knife to cut 1cm wide stripes.
I laid the stripes of marzipan out onto the white fondant. The recipe photo had the stripes straight, but I liked Ian’s diagonal ones on the show so I did the same.
I then rolled over the stripes to infuse them with the fondant.
I cut out 6 squares, measuring 6″ x 3″. It doesn’t matter if they are a little larger as you can trim them.
For the pastry I used 3 sheets of Jus Roll Puff Pastry. I rolled it out onto a baking tray.
I covered the pastry with another piece of baking paper, then a cooling rack over the top. This keeps the pastry from rising too much and keeps it even, you could also use another baking tray laid on top.
I baked the pastry on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes. I flipped it upside down and baked it again, this time without the cooling rack on top, for 10 minutes.
Once the pastry was cool enough to handle, then cut it into 6 pieces measuring 6″ x 3″. I did this again twice more with the other two sheets of pastry until I had 18 pieces of pastry in total.
I coated 12 pieces of the pastry with lemon curd. The recipe said to use raspberry jam, but I didn’t have any and I preferred using lemon curd instead.
I made a sugar syrup using caster sugar and water. I brought it to the boil in a pan and let it bubble for 1 minute. Then I took it off the heat and let it cool down.
I brushed the syrup onto the other six pieces of pastry and stuck the squares of stripy icing over them.
To make the chantilly cream I whipped up double cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract.
I piped the cream onto the lemon curd covered pastry and alternated it with fresh raspberries. These things used so many more raspberries than the recipe stated – I used 5 punnets!
I put the next layer on, did the same again with the cream and raspberries, and finally topped them with the stripy pastry.
The Raspberry Mille Feuille looked so pretty! I absolutely loved the appearance of them with the stripy icing on top. They were absolutely massive though, one can easily be shared between two. Or they could also be made half the size. The Raspberry Mille Feuille were fairly tricky to eat too, but so delicious and worth all the pastry on your jumper and cream on your face!
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Raspberry Mille Feuille
- 3 sheets of Jus Roll Puff Pastry
For the fondant decoration
- 500 g White fondant
- 250 g Pink fondant or coloured marzipan
For the Sugar Syrup
- 50 ml Water
- 25 g Caster sugar
For the fillings
- 3 tbsp Lemon curd
- 600 ml Double cream
- 50 g Icing sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 5 punnets Fresh raspberries
Pre-heat your oven to 180C Fan/200C/400F/Gas Mark 6
Knead the white fondant until it is soft and pliable. Use icing sugar to dust the work surface
Roll out the fondant to a 12" x 9" rectangle
Roll out the pink fondant or marzipan to the same size and use a knife to cut 1cm wide strips
Lay the strips of pink fondant or marzipan over the white fondant. Then roll over the strips to infuse them with the white fondant
Cut out 6 squares of the stripy fondant, measuring 6" x 3". It doesn't matter if they are a little larger as you can trim them later
Roll the puff pastry out onto baking trays. Cover the pastry with another piece of baking paper, then a cooling rack or another baking tray over the top. This keeps the pastry from rising too much and keeps it even
Bake the pastry for 15 minutes. Then flip it upside down and bake it again, this time without anything on top, for 10 minutes. You may need to do this in batches
Let the pastry cool enough to handle, then cut it into 6 pieces measuring 6" x 3". You will end up with 18 pieces of pastry in total
Coat 12 pieces of the pastry with the lemon curd
Make a sugar syrup by boiling the caster sugar and water in a pan for 1 minute. Then take it off the heat and let it cool down Brush the syrup onto the other 6 pieces of pastry and stick the squares of stripy icing over them. Trim them if needed
Make the Chantilly cream by whipping up the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract
Pipe the cream onto the lemon curd covered pastry and alternate blobs of cream with fresh raspberries
Put the next layer of pastry on, do the same again with the cream and raspberries, and finally top them with the stripy iced pastry